The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Some race to win. Others race to survive.

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. 
Some riders live.
Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. 
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
As she did in her bestselling Shiver trilogy, author Maggie Stiefvater takes us to the breaking point, where both love and life meet their greatest obstacles, and only the strong of heart can survive. The Scorpio Races is an unforgettable reading experience.

This was my last book of 2011 and it was really nice to go out on a high note. I loved this book. It was so easy to fall into the world of the island and the races. The writing is lyrical and captivating with characters so real that I starting caring about them immediately.

The Scorpio Race is a bloody affair due to the fact that they are run on water horses. The capall uisce are captured from the sea to be run in the races, but they’re bloodthirsty and unpredictable, constantly trying to trick their riders and return to the water. Death is always a part of the race, just as the capall uisce are part of life on the island.

There’s a lot of emotion and feeling running through this story, but I love how it never got overly dramatic. Both the main characters are very intense in different ways, but they’re also understated. There’s a lot going on under the surface, especially with Sean Kendrick. The viewpoint switches back and forth between Puck and Sean, exploring their lives and motivations in a way I found very easy to connect to. There is romance here, but I liked that it was built up slowly, giving you a chance to get to know them separately first.

As much as I loved the romance, it’s not the only important interaction here. There’s also family, the dynamic between islanders, and the bond both characters have with their horses. Those are the bits that made this book a standout for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like romance. But I don’t like when romance completely takes over a book. If there are other important things happening, I don’t want to just keep reading about the mushy stuff. That’s only one side of things. I can’t get caught up in the romance unless it’s well rounded and balanced by other events and that’s certainly what happened here.

I think it’s the little things I enjoyed most abut this book. Like how the cadence of Sean Kendrick’s speech seemed to leap out of the pages so I could hear his voice clearly in my head… the small town politics… how each horse seemed so distinct… Puck’s determination. All of these things helped sweep me away until I was completely lost in the story.

All of Maggie Stiefvater’s books are now going on my “to be read” list. I’m hoping they’ll be just as wonderful.

The Scorpio Races on Goodreads & Amazon

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